Theory of Mind

byEdgar Gabriel Silex

for my daughter

that look in her eighteen-month-old mind
the instant in which the world is fashioned
beyond simple acts of sticking everything
in her mouth and her face is studying yours
when suddenly her eyes see past all the physical
discoveries of things that occupy her
days that keep you thinking for both of you
so much that you realize just how much fun
and how exhausting it is to always be alert
to your world and hers and in that moment
when you ask her to stop shaking the milk
out of her bottle because she is getting it
all over the floor she stares straight
at you just long enough for you to see
all the way back to Eden to those glorious fecund fields
then as you watch she slowly aims the nipple
toward the floor and you can almost hear
the gates slam shut as she deliberately dribbles
a few more drops of milk on her breakfast
still littering the kitchen floor
and she keeps her eyes on you and you on hers
and that different smile appears out of the universe
of contradiction across her pink round cheeks
till finally you cannot help but smile with her
and you begin to laugh together she's giggling
and laughing because she just found out she is
in control of herself and because she is
she's no longer doing just as you say and you're laughing
because you realize her love just became
conditional and because you really don't know
how many contradictions it takes
to bring one human into being

From Acts of Love by Edgar Gabriel Silex,
Curbstone Press. © 2004 Edgar Gabriel Silex

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